Memphis Gay Community Holds Vigil For Marriage Equality

Memphis Gay Community Holds Vigil For Marriage Equality

We’re one step closer. That’s what supporters of gay rights all over the Mid-South are saying as they rallied together during candlelight vigils Tuesday night.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - We’re one step closer. That’s what supporters of gay rights all over the Mid-South are saying as they rallied together during candlelight vigils Tuesday night. They say it’s a step closer in celebrating marriage equality as the Supreme Court tackles the issue.

At least 100 people rallied outside the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. It was a huge crowd filled with hugs, love, and hope that one day same-sex partners will be legally recognized as husbands and wives.

“Hopefully to celebrate the end of Proposition 8 and DOMA. We know those laws makes us unequal,” said the center's Executive Director Will Batts.

Supreme Court justices are hearing arguments about California’s ban on same sex marriage and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. That denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples.

“I want to be able to make medical decisions for my partner,” said Batts. “We just want to be respected, recognized as a couple who can make decisions about our own lives.”

The younger generation seems to agree.

“I support it. I think if you love somebody it doesn’t matter their race or their gender,” said gay marriage supporter Stephanie Phillips.

“I support it too. It doesn’t matter if a guy and a guy decide they want to be together then it’s on them. It’s nobody’s business if they should or they shouldn’t,” said another supporter, Josh Coghill.

Those who were against gay marriage, like many we talked with in Southaven, literally walked away from us. There were a few people willing to speak with us about why they don’t believe in gay marriage.

“I always say to each its own, but personally I’m not much in favor of it. But if they want to make it state’s rights that’s fine with me too, let the federal government keep out of it,” said Tom Lay of Memphis.

“The way I was raised, Bible-based, so nothing against it but I believe what the Bible says - a man and woman marriage,” said James Miller.

In Oxford, at least 70 people gathered outside the Federal Court House to rally in support of marriage equality. In the Bluff City, many gay supporters held their colorful glow sticks symbolizing marriage equality for all.

The Supreme Court justices will not make a decision on anything until June. The Memphis gay community says either way they’re staying positive.
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